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Preseason: Packers 48, Seattle 13

Wow. This was a total ass kicking. There were a couple of negative points, but it was really outweighed by all of the good. There aren't enough game balls to go around.

The first great sign was TE Bubba Franks. Against Seattle's starting linebackers, he had four first half receptions, and most importantly a couple of them were for first downs.

With RB Vernand Morency still hurt, it looked like RB Brandon Jackson firmly took hold of the starting job tonight. His stat line isn't anything awesome (13 atts., 54 yds., 1 TD) but he looks ready to play. He is very good at getting quickly to the line then making one cut and going, running low and keeping his legs moving for an extra yard or two after the initial contact. But he has also shown good vision and awareness of the running lanes. On one play, he was running to his left but it was all clogged up, however the right side had opened up wide, he took one step and cut back, running right up the middle for a good gain of several yards. He's shown good hands as a receiver, and honestly reminds me of a young RB Ahman Green. I had been avoiding all the Green comparisons all year because they're obvious since they both played at Nebraska and Jackson was drafted to replace him.

WR James Jones is ready to play in the NFL. It seemed like the 3rd round rookie from San Diego State would need some transition time since he came from a smaller school and didn't start until his senior season, but he had three highlight reel catches in this game. His first TD reception was helped by an illegal screen by Franks that wasn't flagged, but he might have made that TD run anyway. His second catch was a jump ball he took right over Seattle's no. 1 CB Marcus Trufant, and his 2nd TD was a low pass he snagged off the top of his shoes while being defended by Seattle's no. 2 CB Kelly Jennings. I'm singling out Jones from the receivers, but all of them played their best tonight.

On defense, the defensive line as a unit dominated the game. The starters in the 1st half and the backups in the 2nd half all played well. Seattle was playing without their starting offensive tackles, but the Packers played T Junius Coston at either right or left tackle most of the 1st half, and DE Patrick Kerney wasn't abusing him like DEs KGB and Cullen Jenkins schooled Seattle's tackles. However, the best sacks came from LB A.J. Hawk and S Atari Bigby. Hawk had one sack on a blitz where he just threw FB Leonard Weaver to one side and sacked QB Seneca Wallace. The biggest pass rushing terror was Bigby who came flying in one near sack of Wallace in the end zone, another sack led to a fumble and TD return by LB Tracy White, and another leaping sack got QB David Greene. Bigby also looked like a really solid tackler and he's got a great chance to become a starter. CB Jarrett Bush stood out with 2 INTs but all the cornerbacks played well with tight coverage and solid tackling.

The special teams were leaning towards CB Will Blackmon as the return man and he took a big step towards grabbing that job for good. His 83 yard kickoff return was outstanding and his 16 yard punt return was another big return. He forced a fumble on defense too. Ks Dave Rayner and Mason Crosby were perfect too, and it looks like it will be a tough decision between them. Right now I would prefer Crosby because he's got a fluid kicking motion that reminds my of K Ryan Longwell, except he has a stronger leg than Longwell ever dreamed of. Rayner's struggles down the stretch last season are a concern, but he's done nothing to lose his job this preseason.

There were a couple of bad things in the game. Too many turnovers were a problem. Nine penalties were too much, but four of them came on a bizarre 4th quarter punt sequence. It looks like P Ryan Dougherty takes a second longer to kick than incumbent P Jon Ryan and might be throwing off the coverage unit's timing. QB Paul Thompson got a long look for the 3rd string QB job and it wasn't pretty. He had 2 INTs and wasn't very accurate, but he is a big guy who can put some zip on the ball and might be a good 3rd QB project. S Nick Collins couldn't wrap up WR Nate Burleson on a busted play, which led to a 50+ yard reception for Burleson and a Seattle field goal. RB Maurice Morris ran untouched on his TD run, but a great block by Seattle's FB Weaver took out LBs Desmond Bishop and Brady Poppinga, while S Aaron Rouse was called in on a safety blitz so Morris had clear skies once he got past the linebackers.

Perspective is needed (it's only a preseason game and there are still three more preseason games to go) but there was so much goodness in this game that only the hardest cynic would show pessimism right now.